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Geelong Arts Centre

A creative new direction for Geelong’s home of performing arts

Geelong Arts Centre (formerly Geelong Performing Arts Centre / GPAC) has been an integral part of the artistic community in Greater Geelong since 1981.

Boasting performance spaces for theatre, music, dance, comedy, children's entertainment and more, plus venues for special events, education and conferences, the Arts Centre is loved by audiences and artists alike.

In 2018, the Arts Centre took an ambitious step forward, refreshing their brand to support even bigger upgrades to their operating models and bricks-and-mortar spaces.

With a new name (now simply Geelong Arts Centre), and dynamic new brand in development, they approached Liquorice to help them express this new identity in the digital space with an updated website.

User experience

Designing a website is so much more than aesthetics. A beautiful website looks good, sure, but more importantly, it feels good. It’s easy to navigate, responsive, organised.

We wanted to ensure the website offered an intuitive experience for users, making the discovery, research and booking process as frictionless as possible.

We started with a simple question: Who are Geelong Arts Centre’s current and future audiences? To find the answer and ensure the new site offered all of these users an elevated experience, we conducted comprehensive user research, including an initial user persona workshop, user interviews, visitor surveys, visitor journey mapping, user flow mapping and one-on-one visitor interviews.

Content prioritisation workshop with key staff members.

From this research, we developed and refined 5 key personas to represent the diversity of the Arts Centre’s customer base:

  • The frequent visitor
  • The occasional visitor
  • The venue booker
  • The new Greater Geelong professional
  • The new Victorian/Out-of-towner

Mapping each persona’s unique journey with the Arts Centre, from their initial awareness and consideration, to the event experience, the follow-up and more, helped us to understand their needs and how to craft a site that more effectively engages them.

Content and information architecture

With initial user research and a content audit under out belts, the next step was to make some considered decisions about information architecture. We created a proposed sitemap for further testing with simpler, more transparent and user-friendly architecture, and plotted each user’s likely journey through the site.

As part of the new brand identity, the Arts Centre also needed to implement a new copywriting tone of voice throughout the entire site. Managing these copy updates was a challenge; the large and complex site housed a huge amount of copy from many different sources. To make the process of updating copy as simple and transparent as possible, we create one, central copydeck where all updates were recorded and all key stakeholders were engaged to contribute and review. This collaborative approach shortened the feedback loop and ensured that only the most up-to-date content was utilised, directly provided by the people who know best.

Thanks so much for all your work on the website. From design to project management to development, the team have been awesome to work with.

Kate Brereton – Director, Development & Marketing, Geelong Arts Centre

Medium fidelity wireframes to high fidelity designs.

Design

The design of the site proved to be a unique challenge in itself. Although the new brand (designed by The Contenders) was still in development, tight deadlines meant that the design of the website couldn’t wait. We proceeded with the application of this new brand, still in its infancy, developing medium fidelity designs as early as possible to ensure we met deadlines.

We also provided feedback to The Contenders on digital application so that they could incorporate that knowledge into the brand guidelines.

We developed a logo animation that embodied the ‘Celebratory’ aspect of the Arts Centre’s brand personality. Over multiple iterations, we landed on the final logo animation that is sophisticated, energetic and subtly references physical performance.

Development

The Geelong Arts Centre project involved a large and complex build; one that incorporated animated elements, ticket sales integrations, member logins and much more.

As well as implementing the design and UX of the site, the website build had to accommodate a series of internal business needs for the Arts Centre. Each department within the organisation had unique needs, from the box office and venue hire department to the marketing team and beyond.

Users can add events to a personal shortlist.
Shortlists can be edited and sent to friends.

We utilised the Wagtail CMS to build a system that could import detailed event data from their ticketing system, manage a range of requirements for the various departments and allow complex editing permissions to enable each department to manage their own content.

To create a fluid and seamless frontend, we heavily customised Wagtail’s API to feed a VueJS frontend app. This allowed for complex filtering of their events and calendar in a way that felt easy and intuitive for the user.

Geelong Arts Centre now have a powerful and user-friendly CMS; one allows them to manage complex data sets in a highly automated way.

An exciting future for Geelong

The new Geelong Arts Centre website launch coincided with the launch of the new brand and the completion of building upgrades. With more upgrades to come, the Arts Centre is set to be the place where creativity meets, today and well into the future.

The new website represents a confident, new brand; one that reflects the growth of Geelong, its audiences and its long-term commitment to the creative and performing arts. Liquorice looks forward to working with the Arts Centre again as they continue to grow and thrive.

Services

Digital Strategy

Front-end Development

Back-end Development

User Experience Design

User Interface Design

Animation

Copywriting

Acknowledgments

Digital Direction: Jim Yencken

UX/UI Design: Peter Binek

Project Management: Tamera Crang

Copywriting: Madeleine Baud

Animation: Andrew Fiscalini

Technical Direction: Hammy Goonan

Development: Liam Mullens, Michelle Chan, Finn Robertson

We live and work on the lands of the Wurundjeri people.
We acknowledge their ownership of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.